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Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1997 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.


As the Languedoc region of Southwestern France continues the surprisingly speedy process of rehabilitating its longtime reputation as a source of jug wines into that of a significant region for serious wine, it's fair to say that the Coteaux du Languedoc leads the way. These sturdy red wines, based on varying proportions of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah, show the kind of complexity, ageworthiness and regional character that increasingly positions them as contenders in the world wine sweepstakes.

One of a fair number of makers whose products are starting to gain attention in the marketplace is Prieuré de St.-Jean de Bébian. We opened this one last night:

Prieuré de St.-Jean de Bébian has a stylish Website (in French), where this picture of the mas (winery) and the accompanying wine bottle image appear.

Prieuré de St.-Jean de Bébian 1993 Coteaux du Languedoc ($12.99)
Dark garnet. Spicy cinnamon and cloves aromas over ripe black fruit. Long, tannic flavor, peppery fruit and firm acidity. Plenty of fruit for current enjoyment, but the tannins and big structure call for a few years in the cellar. Importer: Willett Distributing Co., Alexandria, Ky. (Dec. 21, 1997)

FOOD NOTE: Exactly right with a pan-grilled T-bone au poivre, in which the black pepper echoes the spices in the wine, while the rare red meat successfully "wipes" the tannins, making the wine seem more forward and mature.

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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